Dr. O’Brien is a Clinical Social Worker in the Female Athlete Program and Sports Medicine Division, Research Scientist in the Department of Psychiatry, and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. O’Brien received her BA from Harvard University, MSW and PhD from Boston College, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Dr. O’Brien’s clinical practice expertise is with suicidal and substance-using teens and their families, as well as the mental health and wellness of competitive young athletes. Her research focuses on the development and testing of brief interventions for suicidal teens with and without substance use and their families, with an additional specialization on interventions which utilize technology, as well as training social workers and other health professionals in suicide- and substance-related knowledge and brief interventions.


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  1. Sellers CM, Diaz-Valdes Iriarte A, Wyman Battalen A, O'Brien KHM. Alcohol and marijuana use as daily predictors of suicide ideation and attempts among adolescents prior to psychiatric hospitalization. Psychiatry Res. 2019 03; 273:672-677. View abstract
  2. Sellers CM, McRoy RG, O'Brien KHM. Substance use and suicidal ideation among child welfare involved adolescents: A longitudinal examination. Addict Behav. 2019 06; 93:39-45. View abstract
  3. McManama O'Brien KH, Sellers CM, Battalen AW, Ryan CA, Maneta EK, Aguinaldo LD, White E, Spirito A. Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of a brief alcohol intervention for suicidal adolescents in inpatient psychiatric treatment. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2018 11; 94:105-112. View abstract
  4. O'Brien KHM, Knight JR, Harris SK. A Call for Social Responsibility and Suicide Risk Screening, Prevention, and Early Intervention Following the Release of the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 10 01; 177(10):1418-1419. View abstract
  5. O'Brien KH, Hernandez L, Spirito A. Parental monitoring affects the relationship between depressed mood and alcohol-related problems in adolescents. Subst Abus. 2015; 36(1):82-4. View abstract
  6. O'Brien KH, Singer JB, LeCloux M, Duarté-Vélez Y, Spirito A. Acute behavioral interventions and outpatient treatment strategies with suicidal adolescents. Int J Behav Consult Ther. 2014; 9(3):19-25. View abstract